Family Sues "Horseplaying" Pilot's Estate

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A lawsuit appears to have spawned from the crash of a Bell 47 helicopter in Florida last Oct. 21. William Harter, an alligator hunter nicknamed "Billy The Gator Man" videotaped his own demise as the 40-year-old chopper, flown by his (unlicensed) buddy Donn Goodson, crashed into him before running into Goodson's hangar, killing the pilot and hurting his unidentified passenger, according to the Tampa Tribune. For whatever reason, Harter was videotaping Goodson's helicopter as it made at least four passes a few feet overhead on Goodson's strawberry farm. On the fifth pass, says the Tribune, which got a copy of the tape, "Harter didn't flinch until the two-seat helicopter crashed into him." At the time of the crash, the sheriff's office said Goodson was "sightseeing," according to the Tribune. Now, Harter's children are suing Goodson's widow and his estate. Paul Catania, the children's attorney, described Goodson's actions as "horseplaying." The Tribune said the Goodsons, who are among the wealthiest farm families in the area, tried to settle the case out of court but Harter's family rejected the offer. The children, Gloria, 24, and William, 22, are suing under a Florida law that allows those 25 years old or younger to sue for wrongful death of a parent.